Best New Books: Week of 6/28/22

“Life, he thought, is a blatant act of imagination.” – Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins

American Royalty by  Tracey Livesay ★

Fiction / Romance.

Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.

A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?

Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?

Description from Goodreads.

“…refreshing… Livesay does a masterful job showing how these apparent opposites learn to support each other, and mines their different vernaculars for humor. The indisputable charm and palpable chemistry of the protagonists make this royal romance a gem.” – Publishers Weekly

“…steamy… [The] layering of the power of media attention to shape the lives of those it focuses on shifts American Royalty into something larger than the story of these two unlikely lovers, exploring family and duty, privilege and race, and the potential harm caused by losing control of one’s own story, despite all the perks that may come with being famous as rapper or royal… readers will find it impossible not to root for a happy ending in this irresistible, sexy romance about two star-crossed lovers and the lengths to which they will go to get–and stay–together.” – Shelf Awareness

“This steamy contemporary interracial romance is successfully told in both protagonists’ points of view. Dani and Jameson are likable, three-dimensional characters who are familiar with the cost of living a public life and chafe at their lack of control… Readers will empathize with the protagonists and cheer for their eventual happily ever after.” – Library Journal

The Angel of Rome and Other Stories by  Jess Walter


We all live like we’re famous now, curating our social media presences, performing our identities, withholding those parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see. In this riveting collection of stories from acclaimed author Jess Walter, a teenage girl tries to live up to the image of her beautiful, missing mother. An elderly couple confronts the fiction writer eavesdropping on their conversation. A son must repeatedly come out to his senile father while looking for a place to care for the old man. A famous actor in recovery has a one-night stand with the world’s most surprising film critic. And in the romantic title story, a shy twenty-one-year-old studying Latin in Rome during “the year of my reinvention” finds himself face-to-face with the Italian actress of his adolescent dreams.

Funny, poignant, and redemptive, this collection of short fiction offers a dazzling range of voices, backdrops, and situations. With his signature wit and bighearted approach to the darkest parts of humanity, Walter tackles the modern condition with a timeless touch, once again “solidifying his place in the contemporary canon as one of our most gifted builders of fictional worlds” (Esquire).

Description from Goodreads.

“A glorious addition to the oeuvre… So. Damn. Funny… Prepare for delight.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Even great short story collections normally contain a miss or two in the lot. But not this one. Every single offering in Jess Walter’s newest collection is a poignant, heart-filled gem. His subjects range from Italian actresses to besotted teachers, surprising one-night stands to overheard diner conversations. He delights equally whether bringing to life a minor moment or an epic love story.” – Daily Beast

“One of our finest practitioners of the short story form returns with an ebullient second collection. Fans of Walter’s seminal Beautiful Ruins will fall hard for the swoony title story… Wise, poignant, and generous of spirit, these stories remind us that Walter is a national treasure.” – Esquire

The Dead Romantics by  Ashley Poston

Fiction / Romance / Fantasy.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead… but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

Description from Goodreads.

“We could all use a good summer ghost story, and you can’t get much better than Ashley Poston’s adult fiction debut.” – Entertainment Weekly

“It’s While You Were Sleeping meets Six Feet Under, and I need to yell to everyone about how good it is… The result is an antidote for despair, a romance that is frank about the fact that life ends and time marches on but that nevertheless insists: We aren’t a gothic horror novel. We’re a love story. This is a book to make you laugh during the funeral scene and cry when the dance party begins.” – New York Times

“Poston makes her adult debut with a refreshing rom-com about love, loss, and hope… She manages to both affirm the cynics and give hope to the romantics by simultaneously embracing and subverting rom-com tropes. The sparkling dialogue makes the characters come alive—even the dead ones. Readers won’t be able to put this down.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Dele Weds Destiny by  Tomi Obaro ★


Funmi, Enitan, and Zainab first meet at university in Nigeria and become friends for life despite their differences. Funmi is beautiful, brash, and determined; Enitan is homely and eager, seeking escape from her single mother’s smothering and needy love; Zainab is elegant and reserved, raised by her father’s first two wives after her mother’s death in childbirth. Their friendship is complicated but enduring, and over the course of the novel, the reader learns about their loves and losses. How Funmi stole Zainab’s boyfriend and became pregnant, only to have an abortion and lose the boyfriend to police violence. How Enitan was seduced by an American Peace Corps volunteer, the only one who ever really saw her, but is culturally so different from him–a Connecticut WASP–that raising their daughter together put them at odds. How Zainab fell in love with her teacher, a friend of her father’s, and ruptured her relationship with her father to have him.

Now, some thirty years later, the three women are reunited for the first time, in Lagos. The occasion: Funmi’s daughter, Destiny, is getting married. Enitan brings her American daughter, Remi. Zainab travels by bus, nervously leaving her ailing husband in the care of their son. Funmi, hosting the weekend with her wealthy husband, wants everything to go perfectly. But as the big day approaches, it becomes clear that something is not right. As the novel builds powerfully, the complexities of the mothers’ friendship–and the private wisdom each has earned–come to bear on a riveting, heartrending moment of decision. Dele Weds Destiny is a sensational debut from a dazzling new voice in contemporary fiction.

Description from Goodreads.

“An engrossing read with strong characters and a clear portrait of Nigeria then and now… Obaro’s debut is a portrait of female friendship that will feel familiar to women everywhere, but it is also infused with Nigerian cultural specificity: food, clothing, religion, music, and ambient threat.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“The intricacies of female friendships and the complex nature of mother/daughter relationships are at the heart of this absorbing novel from BuzzFeed culture editor Obaro, a sharp new voice on the literary scene.” – Library Journal

“…lush… Obaro offers plenty of sumptuous depictions of Nigerian culture via Destiny’s wedding, as well as perceptive observations about the characters…” – Publishers Weekly

“From vivid details of Kufena Hill to life on campus and in the back rooms of nail salons, Obaro cleverly pokes beneath the caricatured hustle and bustle of Nigeria to something more real… [she] skilfully manoeuvres between a generation of single women with varying relationships with their mothers…” – The Bookseller

Elsewhere by  Alexis Schaitkin

Fiction / FANTASY.

Vera grows up in a small town, removed and isolated, pressed up against the mountains, cloud-covered and damp year-round. This town, fiercely protective, brutal and unforgiving in its adherence to tradition, faces a singular affliction: some mothers vanish, disappearing into the clouds. It is the exquisite pain and intrinsic beauty of their lives; it sets them apart from people elsewhere and gives them meaning.

Vera, a young girl when her own mother went, is on the cusp of adulthood herself. As her peers begin to marry and become mothers, they speculate about who might be the first to go, each wondering about her own fate. Reveling in their gossip, they witness each other in motherhood, waiting for signs: this one devotes herself to her child too much, this one not enough—that must surely draw the affliction’s gaze. When motherhood comes for Vera, she is faced with the question: will she be able to stay and mother her beloved child, or will she disappear?

Provocative and hypnotic, Alexis Schaitkin’s Elsewhere is at once a spellbinding revelation and a rumination on the mysterious task of motherhood and all the ways in which a woman can lose herself to it; the self-monitoring and judgment, the doubts and unknowns, and the legacy she leaves behind.

Description from Goodreads.

“This is a fascinating speculative novel about the life-altering experience of motherhood that reminded me both of Shirley Jackson’s short story ‘The Lottery’ and Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.’ The audiobook narrated by Ell Potter is riveting.” – BuzzFeed

“Schaitkin returns with… great substance by digging into the complicated feelings brought on by motherhood and the judgments from others, all the while delineating the mothers’ utter joy, frustrations, and love for their children. This is a standout.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A simply stunning work of speculative fiction. The prose is as magical as the haunting world Schaitkin creates; the story is as captivating as the prose; the characters, the imagery―flawless. The novel has social commentary and thematic strength to boot… This novel is, at its core, a commentary and psychological exploration of motherhood, as readers follow Vera through parenting’s tender highs and most gut-wrenching, self-doubting lows. Schaitkin’s sophomore novel channels early Margaret Atwood, a magical, otherworldly story certain to be on plenty of 2022 ‘best of’ lists.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

George Michael: A Life by  James Gavin

Nonfiction / Biography / Music.

George Michael was an extravagantly gifted, openhearted soul singer whose work was both pained and smolderingly erotic. He was a songwriter of true craft and substance, and his music swept the world, starting in the mid-1980s. His fabricated image—that of a hypermacho sex god—loomed large in the pop culture of his day. It also hid—for a time—the secret he fought against revealing: Michael was gay. Soon his obsession with fame would start to backfire. As one of the industry’s most privileged yet tortured men began to self-destruct, the press showed little sympathy. George Michael: A Life explores the compelling story of a superstar whose struggles, as well as his songs, continue to touch fans all over the world.

Acclaimed music biographer James Gavin traces Michael’s metamorphosis from the shy and awkward Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou into the swaggering, dominant half of the leading British pop duo of the 1980s Wham!; he then details Michael’s sensational solo career and its subsequent unraveling. With deep analysis of the creative process behind Michael’s albums, tours, and music videos, as well as interviews with hundreds of his friends and colleagues, George Michael: A Life is a probing, definitive portrait of a pop legend.

Description from Goodreads.

“A fascinating, heartbreaking bio.” – People

“[As] definitive as these things get… George Michael: A Life suggests that making himself happy remained an unrealized ideal, hardly the fait accompli that his smile and ebullient pop would have you believe.” – Jezebel

“Gavin’s real stories of triumphs and tragedies poignantly explain one of pop’s most enigmatic stars.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Goldenacre by  Philip Miller

Fiction / Mystery.

Thomas Tallis, inspector of provenance, has just arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, to authenticate The Goldenacre, a masterpiece by iconic Scottish architect and painter Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Still dealing with a miserable divorce and the fallout from a disastrous job in London, Tallis is eager to sign off on the painting and leave. It should be simple, as the painting has been owned by one noble family since the ’20s. But then a horrifying parcel arrives on Tallis’s desk, and the threatening message is clear: someone doesn’t want him inspecting the painting. Now that Tallis sees lives are in danger, he has no choice but to stay until the investigation is complete.

Meanwhile, gruesome murders are plaguing Edinburgh. First, a Scottish painter of great renown. Next, an Edinburgh City Counsellor. Battle-hardened newspaper reporter Shona Sandison is on the case, even as her beloved industry shrinks around her. Shona doesn’t care who she steps on to get the best story, and she soon uncovers a link between The Goldenacre and the murders. As Tallis’s personal crises reach a fever pitch, Shona struggles to enlist his help in understanding how the painting is mixed up in all this violence before either one of them becomes the next victim.

Pensive, lush, and tragic, The Goldenacre is a heartbroken love letter to Edinburgh, and an unpredictable, gorgeously plotted mystery to savor.

Description from Goodreads.

The Goldenacre is infused with the grey atmosphere and stylish lingo of its Edinburgh setting… [A] complex art thriller.” – CrimeReads

“Fans of Scottish-Grit crime writer Ian Rankin will love this twisty mystery… [The] plot is ingenious, and the atmosphere—both sinister Edinburgh and the embattled newsroom—is brilliantly evoked.” – Booklist

“Outstanding… In a style recalling the brutal dreariness of le Carré, Miller describes a pivotal character as ‘sharp and severe as a snapped bone.’ It’s also an apt description of this biting tale of society in decline. Noir fans won’t want to miss it.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Hatchet Island by  Paul Doiron

Fiction / Mystery / Suspense.

A call for help from a former colleague leads Maine game warden investigator Mike Bowditch and his girlfriend Stacey Stevens on a sea kayaking trip to a research station far off the coast. Stacey spent summers interning on the island, a sanctuary for endangered seabirds, and they are shocked by what they hear when they come ashore. The biologists are being threatened by local fishermen and stalked by a mysterious boatman who seems intent on trespassing on the refuge. Even worse, their leader, whose mind is slowly unraveling after the unexplained suicide of a young intern, has now gone missing.

Camped on a nearby islet for the night, Mike and Stacey waken to the sound of a gunshot. When they return to the refuge at dawn, their darkest fears are confirmed: two of the three researchers have been brutally murdered and the third has disappeared, along with the island skiff. Mike’s quest to find the missing man reveals new suspects including a Marine Patrol officer with a history of violence and the sanctuary’s enigmatic founder, who conveniently reappears after the killings. The search expands to a nearby island owned by a world-renowned photographer with a scandalous reputation. The artist and his equally brilliant wife wield a powerful hold over the inhabitants of their private kingdom, and Mike increasingly comes to believe that someone in the village knows more about the killings than they dare admit.

With no one to trust and miles from shore, Mike Bowditch must stop a ruthless murderer determined to make sure a terrifying secret never sees the light of day.

Description from Goodreads.

“Exceptional… Doiron is writing at the top of his game.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Worth the wait.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Doiron [delivers] brilliant characterizations, relentless action and suspense, and an intricately plotted narrative. The perfect vacation read.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys by  Miranda Seymour

Nonfiction / Biography / Writing.

Jean Rhys is one of the most compelling writers of the twentieth century. Memories of her Caribbean girlhood haunt the four short and piercingly brilliant novels that Rhys wrote during her extraordinary years as an exile in 1920s Paris and later in England, a body of fiction—above all, the extraordinary Wide Sargasso Sea—that has a passionate following today. And yet her own colorful life, including her early years on the Caribbean island of Dominica, remains too little explored, until now.

In I Used to Live Here Once, Miranda Seymour sheds new light on the artist whose proud and fiercely solitary life profoundly informed her writing. Rhys experienced tragedy and extreme poverty, alcohol and drug dependency, romantic and sexual turmoil, all of which contributed to the “Rhys woman” of her oeuvre. Today, readers still intuitively relate to her unforgettable characters, vulnerable, watchful, and often alarmingly disaster-prone outsiders; women with a different way of moving through the world. And yet, while her works often contain autobiographical material, Rhys herself was never a victim. The figure who emerges for Seymour is cultured, self-mocking, unpredictable—and shockingly contemporary.

Based on new research in the Caribbean, a wealth of never-before-seen papers, journals, letters, and photographs, and interviews with those who knew Rhys, I Used to Live Here Once is a luminous and penetrating portrait of a fascinatingly elusive artist.

Description from Goodreads.

“Illuminating and meticulously researched… Reveals how her subject’s tumultuous life informed her brilliant art.” – Wall Street Journal

“A first-class life and a rollicking read. Seymour skilfully interweaves the autobiographical stories and novels with the people and fortunes in Rhys’s crazily adventurous life… The result is close to a masterpiece.” – Sunday Times

“Slyly compelling… The narrative has the tension of a thriller… However precarious her existence, as she appears in this biography Rhys always maintains an obscure dominion, if not over herself, then over other people. Her intransigence, capriciousness and abiding selfishness may not be pretty, but it’s these qualities that kept her going against all the odds.” – The Guardian

The Locked Room by  Elly Griffiths

Fiction / Mystery.

Ruth is in London clearing out her mother’s belongings when she makes a surprising discovery: a photograph of her Norfolk cottage taken before Ruth lived there. Her mother always hated the cottage, so why does she have a picture of the place? As she died three years ago, Ruth can’t exactly ask her, and her father denies all knowledge of the picture. The only clue is written on the back of the photo: Dawn, 1969.

Ruth returns to Norfolk determined to solve the mystery, but then Covid-19 rears its ugly head. Ruth and her daughter are locked down in their cottage, attempting to continue with work and lessons, but, in reality, becoming lonely and frustrated. Happily the house next door is rented by a nice woman called Sally, who they become friendly with while standing on their doorstep clapping for carers.

Nelson, meanwhile, has no time to be bored. He’s investigating a series of suicides that could be the work of a serial killer. It’s only when he links them to an archaeological discovery that he thinks of Ruth. He breaks curfew to visit the cottage to find Ruth chatting to her neighbour, whom he remembers as Dawn Lancaster, a carer who was once tried for murdering her employer. When the deaths continue, Nelson vows to take Ruth and Kate to live with him. But they, and Dawn, have vanished.

Description from Goodreads.

“Elly Griffiths is a pro, and this book has the bracing familiarity of a locked room mystery done well—no gimmicks or implausible turns.” – CrimeReads

“Another solid novel in the series… Fans of [Ruth Galloway] will be happy.” – Red Carpet Crash

“[A] beautifully constructed story and well worth a read.” – Crime Fiction Lover

The Measure by  Nikki Erlick

Fiction / Science Fiction.

It seems like any other day: You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined; pen pals finding refuge in the unknown; a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush; a doctor who cannot save himself; and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.

Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.

Description from Goodreads.

“Perfect for book clubs, Erlick’s The Measure is equal parts charming and thought-provoking. It takes a philosophical question—what if everybody on earth knew exactly how long they had left to live?—and explores, with compassion and pragmatism, how the implications would trickle down into every area of modern life, from politics to intimacy.” – Marie Claire

“…moving… the scenes of grief and love are poignant.” – Publishers Weekly

“…thought provoking and insightful. The amount of questions it raises is staggering… Definitely check it out if you want something a little meatier this summer.” – Novel Gossip

Our Crooked Hearts by  Melissa Albert

Fiction / Young Adult / Fantasy / Horror / Mystery.


Seventeen-year-old Ivy’s summer break kicks off with an accident, a punishment, and a mystery: a stranger whose appearance in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, heralds a string of increasingly unsettling events. As the days pass, Ivy grapples with eerie offerings, corroded memories, and a secret she’s always known—that there’s more to her mother than meets the eye.


Dana has always been perceptive. And the summer she turns sixteen, with the help of her best friend and an ambitious older girl, her gifts bloom into a heady fling with the supernatural, set in a city of magical possibilities and secret mystics. As the trio’s aspirations darken, they find themselves speeding toward a violent breaking point.

Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never should’ve messed with.

Description from Goodreads.

“Sublimely creepy.” – PopSugar

“A multi-genre, coming-of-age story that explores diverse relationships that teens will relate to. Albert’s fast-paced storytelling is both thrilling and accessible, with her descriptive similes, knowledge of the occult, and imaginative spells. Teens who enjoy drama, secrets, romance, and mysteries with a twist of magic will love this one.” – School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A standalone novel so precise and enthralling that the only possible explanation is that Albert herself is a witch… a novel that will be devoured as well as savored. It takes risks and, magically, succeeds. And whether or not Albert is in fact a witch, one thing is for sure: her words are magic.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by  Samantha Allen ★

Fiction / Horror / comedy / Romance.

When the final four women in competition for an aloof, if somewhat sleazy, bachelor’s heart arrive on a mysterious island in the Pacific Northwest, they mentally prepare themselves for another week of extreme sleep deprivation, invasive interviews, and of course, the salacious drama that viewers nationwide tune in to eagerly devour. Each woman came on The Catch for her own reasons–brand sponsorships, followers, and yes, even love–and they’ve all got their eyes steadfastly trained on their respective prizes.

Enter Patricia, a temperamental, but woefully misunderstood local, living alone in the dark, verdant woods and desperate to forge a connection of her own. As the contestants perform for the cameras that surround them, Patricia watches from her place in the shadows, a queer specter haunting the bombastic display of heterosexuality before her. But when the cast and crew at last make her acquaintance atop the island’s tallest and most desolate peak, they soon realize that if they’re to have any hope of making it to the next Elimination Event, they’ll first have to survive the night.

A whirlwind romp careening toward a last-girl-standing conclusion and a scathing indictment of contemporary American media culture, Patricia Wants to Cuddle is also a love story: between star-crossed lesbians who rise above their intolerant town, a deeply ambivalent woman and her budding self-actualization, and a chosen family of misfit islanders forging community against all odds.

Description from Goodreads.

“A one-of-a-kind queer horror comedy for people who watch The Bachelor and The X-Files back-to-back.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I had high hopes for this one—The Bachelor meets a creature feature? yes, please—and Samantha Allen delivered: I devoured it in one sitting… Part satire, part gleeful horror, part lesbian love story, I had as much fun reading this as Allen clearly did while writing it. A delightful, surprising summer romp that I dearly hope gets the silver screen treatment.” – Literary Hub

“Genuinely funny, surprising, and even—at times—heartwarming. Recommended for fans of Grady Hendrix or Jessica Knoll.” – Booklist

“Allen smoothly navigates the novel’s jumps from breezy chick-lit to sharp-fanged satire to gory, no-holds-barred horror. Like the architects of most great monster stories, Allen keeps her creature offstage for as long as possible, giving the characters (and readers) only occasional, chilling glimpses of what’s waiting for them. But even before Patricia gets down to business, the book is fast-paced, funny, and thoughtful. Whether you’re here for reality-show backbiting, nuanced social commentary, or flesh-ripping monster action, you’ll be richly rewarded.” – The Big Thrill

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels, and Crooks by  Patrick Radden Keefe ★

Nonfiction / True Crime / Biography.

Patrick Radden Keefe has garnered prizes ranging from the National Magazine Award to the Orwell Prize to the National Book Critics Circle Award for his meticulously reported, hypnotically engaging work on the many ways people behave badly. Rogues brings together a dozen of his most celebrated articles from The New Yorker. As Keefe says in his preface, “They reflect on some of my abiding preoccupations: crime and corruption, secrets and lies, the permeable membrane separating licit and illicit worlds, the bonds of family, the power of denial.”

Keefe brilliantly explores the intricacies of forging $150,000 vintage wines, examines whether a whistleblower who dared to expose money laundering at a Swiss bank is a hero or a fabulist, spends time in Vietnam with Anthony Bourdain, chronicles the quest to bring down a cheerful international black market arms merchant, and profiles a passionate death penalty attorney who represents the “worst of the worst,” among other bravura works of literary journalism.

The appearance of his byline in The New Yorker is always an event, and collected here for the first time readers can see his work forms an always enthralling but deeply human portrait of criminals and rascals, as well as those who stand up against them.

Description from Goodreads.

“…enthralling… remind[s] us once again why he is one of best writers of nonfiction working today.” – National Book Review

“A new book by Keefe means drop everything and close the blinds; you’ll be turning pages for hours… It’s highly entertaining, of course, but what shines through most brightly is Keefe’s fascination with what makes us human even when we’re at our most imperfect.” – Los Angeles Times

“Keefe, a Kirkus Prize finalist for Say Nothing, is one of our most diligent investigators and skilled journalists… [he] effectively shows how we can seek to understand why people commit evil acts without absolving them… there is plenty to like in this book, and as always, Keefe writes with flair, color, and care.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[An] excellent collection of Keefe’s detective work, and a fine introduction to his illuminating writing… Keefe is clearly interested in how people portray themselves — what their personas say about the humans underneath… Rogues is a wonderful book, not only because Keefe’s prose is masterful, but because he has a preternatural gift for reading people. He recognizes that we’re all unreliable narrators of our own lives, and writes about his subjects with a keen sense of understanding… This book is a joy to read.” – NPR

Thrust by  Lidia Yuknavitch ★

Fiction / Fantasy.

Lidia Yuknavitch has an unmatched gift for capturing stories of people on the margins–vulnerable humans leading lives of challenge and transcendence. Now, Yuknavitch offers an imaginative masterpiece: the story of Laisve, a motherless girl from the late 21st century who is learning her power as a carrier, a person who can harness the power of meaningful objects to carry her through time. Sifting through the detritus of a fallen city known as the Brook, she discovers a talisman that will mysteriously connect her with a series of characters from the past two centuries: a French sculptor; a woman of the American underworld; a dictator’s daughter; an accused murderer; and a squad of laborers at work on a national monument. Through intricately braided storylines, Laisve must dodge enforcement raids and find her way to the present day, and then, finally, to the early days of her imperfect country, to forge a connection that might save their lives–and their shared dream of freedom.

A dazzling novel of body, spirit, and survival, Thrust will leave no reader unchanged.

Description from Goodreads.

“A stunningly beautiful novel about the power of storytelling to make sense of the world we are living in and the one we might just be barreling toward.” – Daily Beast

“[The] most mind-blowing book about America I’ve ever inhaled… I read Thrust in a state of flustered fascination and finished longing to dream it again.” – Washington Post

“There’s so much that feels deeply present about Yuknavitch’s latest novel: the ever-expanding police state, lower Manhattan under water, and a woman on a mission to rescue other vulnerable women. Yuknavitch’s words are incantations, and Thrust is a triumph.” – Elle

“A dazzling new novel that marks another imaginative feat in a career with no shortage of them. A lyrical and dexterous critique of a future America ravaged by climate change and surveillance, Thrust is both of the moment and utterly timeless.” – Chicago Review of Books

X by  Davey Davis

Fiction / Science Fiction.

The world is ending, and down-and-out sadist Lee spends their days working for a big corporation and their nights wandering the streets of Brooklyn listening to true crime podcasts. But everything changes when Lee is dragged to a warehouse party by their best friend, where they find themself in the clutches of the seductive and bloodthirsty X. When Lee seeks her out again, she’s nowhere to be found.

Amid the steady constriction of civil rights and the purging of migrants and refugees, the U.S. government has recently begun encouraging the semi-voluntary “exporting” of undesirable citizens—the radicalized, the dissident, and the ungovernable. Word has it that X may be among those leaving. If Lee doesn’t track her down soon, she may be gone forever.

Description from Goodreads.

“A sexy and dangerous ride.” – The White Review

“Davey Davis’s X is the real deal, lacerating the reader with its swagger, prose, and heat.”  – The Cut

“Davis delivers an astonishing speculative tale of sex, power, and gender… Vivid and witty, Davis’s prose hurtles between moments of beauty and darkness, often in the same breath… This one hits hard.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW


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